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July 01, 2013

O3b Networks Satellites are Up, Providing High-Speed Network Access to Remote Areas

By Miguel Leiva-Gomez, TMCnet Contributor

On June 26, O3b Networks successfully completed the launch of four different communications satellites, which compose part of the company's plans to create a satellite-based Internet network that will provide fiber-optic speeds for remote locations around the world.

O3b's name was cleverly created to represent “over 3 billion” people who do not have Internet access. The company was founded in 2007 and its goal was to provide high-speed satellite Internet to areas of the world where such connectivity was unimaginable. Its funding, touching just over $1 billion, comes from partners such as Google (News - Alert), HSBC and SES.

The company's satellites are currently orbiting at medium-Earth altitude after a successful launch aboard a Soyuz ST-B rocket from the Kourou launch facility in French Guiana. Now, all the satellites are providing broadband access to remote areas in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. This isn't the end of O3b's plan which, when complete, will deliver Internet to 180 different countries around the world at a low cost with the added benefit of mobile connectivity.

Because of their low orbit, the satellites will be able to operate on frequencies that others cannot successfully transmit to and receive from Earth with. This will allow for lower latency and higher bandwidth capacity. O3b currently offers corporate networking with bandwidth rates of anywhere from 100 to 1000 Mbps. The company hopes to reach more customers that will sign contracts to provide Internet services to the four regions that it currently covers with its satellites.

O3b Chairman John W. Dick said, “Working with our customers, O3b will open up a new and exciting world to billions of people who, up to now, have not experienced the benefits of fast internet connectivity and who, as a result, are not on a level playing field.”

Edited by Alisen Downey

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